Nearly 63,000 Irish people visited Thailand in 2013, a 4.5% increase on 2012, and the figure for January 2014 was 18.5% up on January 2013! That was the good news from Chris Lee, Trade Marketing Manager with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, for those attending an evening in Dublin last night jointly sponsored by the TAT, Etihad Airways, Macau Government Tourist Office, Tourism Australia and Tourism New Zealand.
This year, with the slogan ‘It Begins with the People’, Tourism Authority of Thailand is focussing on quality tourism – staying longer, spending more, and better regional distribution – and three key markets: weddings and honeymoons, the luxury market, and the student market.
Beatrice Cosgrove outlined Etihad Airways’ plans for 2014, including going double daily ex-Dublin in July, adding eight new destinations to the existing 85 – with Perth, Western Australia, commencing on 15th July – and the arrival of 20 new aircraft, including the A380 and the B787.
Jas Anand of Macau Government Tourist Office said that Macau welcomed 4,000 Irish visitors last year, a 4% increase on 2012. Macau is reached by an easy one-hour fast ferry from Hong Kong (with luggage booked straight through), while in 2016 the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macau 30km road bridge will open, enabling a 30-minute drive.
Bryan Arnicar of Tourism Australia highlighted the ‘Australian Icons’ in each state: the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in New South Wales; the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland; Uluru in Northern Territory; Kangaroo Island in South Australia; Bungle Bungles in Western Australia; and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.
Louise Ferrall of Tourism New Zealand highlighted the varying landscapes of New Zealand’s three islands, this year’s new New Zealand Cycle Trail, and the attractions of The Hobbit – with the final film in the series out next December.